Diocletianâ€™s edict that all the sacred books of the Christians should be burned was a fiery trial for the saints of God. Since the copies were hand written and not the common possession of all as our printed Bibles are to us today, the leaders of the churches were particularly sought after and afflicted in this way since they surely had copies with them.
It was a circumstance that required the church to seriously face the question, â€œWhat are we willing to die for? What books are actually the Word of God; which are merely the words of men?â€?
The authority of the NT writings had long been recognized and accepted by the church [I Cor.14:37; 2 Pet.3:1,2,15,16; compare I Tim.5:18 with Lk.10:7]. No Council told the Christians what to believe. The Spirit of God who was the Supreme Author of the Word of God did that [2 Pet.1:20,21; I Jn.2:27; Jn.16:13].
Including the NT books in a Councilâ€™s declaration did not give them authority: They had authority already as from God and were included by the Council because of it. The Synod of Carthage [397 AD] merely stated what was already common knowledge and believed when it canonized [accepted as genuine and inspired] the 27 books of the NT.
The Apocrypha was rejected by Christ, the Apostles, and the believers following them, and not included as part of the NT Canon: Only the Roman Catholic Church incorporated them officially as â€œinspiredâ€? in 1546 AD in order to buttress their false claims.